According to this Bloomberg report, Microsoft is planning to cut a number of jobs in its Xbox division as part of an overall restructuring plan. Two anonymous sources familiar with the situation have told Bloomberg that overall cuts could end up being the biggest number of layoffs since 2009 when the company laid off 5,800 employees.
Microsoft has updated the Xbox One this week to offer game trials, something it had been lacking and was frequently requested by Xbox One users. On Xbox 360 you can download trials of Xbox Live Arcade titles and play them to decide whether you want to buy them. This simple feature has not been available on Xbox one until now. Users have complained in the past that some ID@Xbox releases have been denied a larger spot on the Xbox One store, only visible at launch in the New Releases section.
A select number of current Xbox 360 users have received an offer from Microsoft via Xbox Live offering them a $75 credit if they purchase an Xbox One from any retailer. How Microsoft is choosing which customers receive this special offer is unknown as of this writing. The promo appears on users' Xbox 360 dashboards and says that it's only for Microsoft's "very best customers."
The offer is for selected Xbox 360 owners in the United States, Canada, and the UK.
The latest Call of Duty DLC lets players show their appreciation of pot. The new "Blunt Force" character pack for Call of Duty: Ghosts is available now for $2 on Xbox platforms and comes with a pot-themed uniform and two headgear options that feature pot leaves.
According to Infinity Ward's description of the pack, it will make your enemies "experience chronic defeat." The "Blunt Force" character pack follows a similar weapon camouflage pack that launched in April which featured marijuana-themed decorations for weapons.
Stephen Toulouse, the former policy and enforcement director at Xbox Live, is once again representing the Microsoft brand with his new job as director of Community Engagement on the upcoming Gears of War game for Xbox One. Toulouse actually joined Black Tusk Studios awhile ago, according to what he wrote on his personal blog.
Microsoft has revealed the Xbox One and Xbox 360 'Games With Gold' titles that will be free to Xbox Live Gold subscribers in July. Starting Tuesday, July 1, Xbox One players will be able to download Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition, replacing June's Halo: Spartan Assault. Max: The Curse of Brotherhood will remain free for another month for Xbox One users.
Xbox 360 owners will get Gotham City Imposters will be available from July 1 until July 15. On July 16 it will be replaced with BattleBlock Theater, which will be free until July 31.
Microsoft says that it will still introduce the Family Sharing feature it detailed when it initially announced the Xbox One and the new feature-set for Xbox Live on the platform. When it was announced Microsoft said that Family Share gives users the ability to share a game library among up to 10 family members. In June of last year Microsoft removed the feature alongside some of its more controversial requirements for the console like internet connection requirements and region-locked software.
Head of Xbox Phil Spencer opened Microsoft's E3 Xbox briefing to talk about nothing but games. Microsoft avoided talking about sales numbers, upcoming Xbox Live features, and entertainment; focusing exclusively on all the games coming out by year's end and 2015 and beyond. The company spent its 90 minutes talking about and showing games through sizzle reels and live action demos. The company also focused on many of its core franchises coming out this year.
Microsoft announced that a handful of new entertainment apps will be making their way to Xbox One very soon. The company said that it will bring, HBO Go and other on-demand content services from Comedy Central, Encore, FX, MTV, Starz, Syfy, USA Network, VH1, ABC, Showtime Anytime, and the Disney Channel. Other entertainment apps on the way include Crunchyroll, MLG, Vine, Vevo, and Epix.
The Xbox 360 version of Dark Souls is now free to download for Xbox Live Gold subscribers as part of Microsoft's Games with Gold monthly deal. Weighing in at around 3.81 GB, the game normally sells for $19.99 on Microsoft's digital marketplace, Games on Demand. Dark Souls is a hardcore, unforgiving action RPG, and the successor to the popular sequel Dark Souls II.
Other Xbox 360 free to download this month as part of Games with Gold will also include free Charlie Murder and Super Street Fighter IV downloads starting on June 16.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says he has no intention of selling the Xbox business.
"I have no intent to do anything different with Xbox than we are doing today," Nadella told reporters at the Code Conference in California this week, according to The Verge.
The Xbox 360 version of Saints Row: The Third is now available for free to Xbox Live Gold subscribers until the end of May. Weighing in at 6.86 GB, the title is normally sells for right around $20 on Microsoft's digital marketplace, but you can get it for nothing if you are an Xbox Live Gold subscriber. Earlier this month the action RPG Dust was available for free.
Microsoft will offer refunds to Xbox Live Gold subscribers who want to cancel their membership when new service policies go into effect in June. The company said yesterday that Xbox Live users will no longer require a Gold subscription to access Netflix and other entertainment apps beginning next month. Gold will still be needed for online gaming and to benefit from promotions like Games with Gold on Xbox One and Xbox 360.
Following a June system update for Xbox One and Xbox 360, users will be able to request a refund on their Gold subscription, according to Microsoft:
Microsoft sent out an announcement to customers today to let them know that some changes would be coming to Xbox Live Gold membership. Starting in June Microsoft will bring its free games give-away program, Games with Gold to the Xbox One, in addition to Xbox 360.
They also announced that Deals with Gold for Xbox One, which gives members exclusive discounts on games and content in the Xbox Store, will also be coming to Xbox One.
According to multiple sources within the company, Microsoft plans to lift the Xbox Live Gold requirement for consumers who want to watch Netflix, Hulu and other streaming media apps on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
Basically it means that consumers who buy a brand new Xbox One will be able to watch these services right out of the box without having to worry about having an Xbox Live Gold account. Of course you'll still have to set up a free Silver account in order to do anything.
Microsoft's Games With Gold program will give Xbox Live Gold subscribers two more free games in May. From May 1 up until May 15, gamers can download Dust: An Elysian Tail for free. Originally released on Xbox Live Arcade in August 2012, Dust is a hand-painted style RPG adventure created by indie developer Humble Hearts.
Dust will be replaced on May 16 with Saints Row: The Third, the adult themed action comedy game originally released in November 2011.
According to a recent tweet from Microsoft's head of Xbox Phil Spencer, the new Xbox One version of Minecraft will allow you to do something that the Xbox One won't with Xbox 360 - have some measure of backwards compatibility. According to Spencer, Xbox 360 Minecraft owners will have the grand ability to transfer their save data over to the Xbox One version of the game.
Microsoft's second game in the Xbox Live Games With Gold free game giveaway promotion for the month of April is Deadlight. From now until the end of April Xbox Live Gold subscribers can download and keep the game free of charge.
Deadlight is a 2012 side scrolling survival horror/cinematic platforming game for Xbox 360 and Windows developed by Tequila Works and published by Microsoft. Deadlight is rated "M" for "Mature" by the ESRB.
Earlier in the month Hitman: Absolution was free as part of the program.
Xbox Entertainment Studios boss Nancy Tellem tells Bloomberg in this video interview that the PlayStation Network's television offerings are not a competitive threat to what Microsoft is doing with its Xbox Live original programming.
Tellem claims that the Xbox Entertainment Studios division has been working for a year and a half on creating its content, which is set to make a grand debut in June.
Seeing what Sony has done with the acquisition of Gaikai, Microsoft is considering the possibility of emulating Xbox 360 on the Xbox One. According to a report on Kotaku, Xbox partner development lead Frank Savage said that Microsoft does have some plans on emulation, but they are still "thinking things through."
"There are [plans]," he said. "But we're not done thinking them through yet, unfortunately."
Microsoft has revealed a line-up of new and original shows that will debut on Xbox Live for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. According to this Bloomberg report, the original programming includes a comedy sketch show with comedian Sarah Silverman, another with actor Michael Cera's JASH comedy group, and a stop-motion show with comedian and actor Seth Green's Stoopid Buddy Stoodios. Microsoft also plans a live broadcast of the Bonnaroo music festival in July.
Microsoft announced that the Xbox 360 version of Minecraft has now sold 12 million copies to-date at retail and online through Xbox Live Marketplace. Along with the announcement of the milestone, Microsoft also revealed that a new mod pack for the game called the Candy Texture Pack will be released on April 18.
San Diego's KGTV has a cool profile of Kristoffer Von Hassel, a five-year-old who discovered a security hole in the Xbox One account login. Kristoffer accidently managed to log in to his father's Xbox One account without knowing the password, according to the news station. He did this simply by entering spaces into the password prompt after failing to punch the right password in the first time.
Phil Spencer has been named the new Head of Xbox at Microsoft. In his new role he'll be in charge of Xbox Live, Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Microsoft Studios. Spencer says that he will employ a "gaming first" philosophy at the Microsoft division, making sure that video games are the most important component of the Xbox One.
Soon gamers will be able to share and gift games on Xbox One just like they can on Steam, according to what Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer told GameSpot in a recent interview. Speaking to the publication during GDC last week in San Francisco, Spencer said that Microsoft believes in a future where digital content is king.